August 13, 2015 --
Marine Corps Community Services’ Exceptional Family Member Program staff at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany partnered with the Challenger League team during its weeklong youth summer day camp, recently.
Pin City Bowling Center at the Town and Country Restaurant, here, opened its doors and lanes to a unique league of young bowlers, who participated in the group’s one-day activity.
Chatter and laughter from the children along with the sounds of bowling balls rolling down the lanes could be heard throughout the restaurant by patrons and spectators alike.
The uniqueness of the event, according to Jennifer Sapp, director/founder, Challenger League, Albany, Georgia, is that each of the children attending has a “special need.”
Sapp gave an overview and the initiative’s conception, which although still in its infancy, was her brainchild.
“The Challenger League is turning into sort of the YMCA of special needs activities,” Sapp said. “It started when I wanted my (special needs) child to be able to play baseball, so we (organized) a Buddy-Ball back in February. We (allowed) one week for kids to sign up; we had 26 kids and 48 buddies to come out.
“The volunteers become the buddies so that the (parents) can come out, sit back and have a ‘normal experience,’ Sapp emphasized. “They can sit down, watch and not have to be hands on with their kid; they can actually watch their child enjoying something.”
According to Sapp, the children have signed up and participated in a range of activities: baseball; a one-week day camp, which has included movie day, bowling day, Flint RiverQuarium day, art day and pool day.
Becky Shiver, program manager, EFMP, MCLB Albany, expressed her feelings about partnering with the Challenger League.
“I am excited to have learned about the recreational opportunities the Challenger League is offering exceptional children,” Shiver said. “(We) look forward to referring families, (who are) looking for social, sports and even summer camp opportunities for their children with special needs. (And, we look forward to working with) Jennifer Sapp and her group of creative, caring folks at the Challenger League.”